Ford is bringing its latest high-performance Mustang back to the track with the new 2016 GT350R-C, which will debut and race in this weekend's IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at Watkins Glen.

The spiritual successor to the Boss 302R that's still taking part in the Continental Tire series today, the first GT350R-C will be campaigned by Multimatic Motorsports. It's had its fully independent suspension completely revised for the track, and it gets everything from new spring rates to new anti-roll bars to a lowered ride height.

Like the road-going GT350, a 5.2-liter, flat-plane-crank V8 sits under the hood, although Ford didn't release any specifics on power output. In fact, details are in short supply. We're expecting some sort of sequential racing transmission, wildly enhanced brakes, and a thoroughly race-prepared cabin, although Ford hasn't released any info on that stuff. The Blue Oval also hasn't said anything about the aerodynamic package, but strangely, it looks more or less like what's featured on the standard GT350R. The front fascia and rear wing are pretty much identical, and even the side sills seem roughly similar to the production model.

"Like so many Mustangs before it, the Shelby GT350R is a car born to race," Ford's director of global performance, Dave Pericak, said in the attached press release. "We're taking it to the track as the GT350R-C and we're ready to see what it can do against the best competition in the world."

Scroll down for the official press release from Ford. And if you're so inclined, you can check out the GT350R-C's debut race this weekend at IMSA.com, with coverage starting at 12:25 P.M. If you prefer normal TV, Fox Sports 1 will get around to re-broadcasting the race on July 5 at 10:00 A.M.

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Ford Shelby GT350R Mustang | 2015 NAIAS

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Ford Performance Shelby GT350R-C to Make IMSA Competition Debut at Watkins Glen

• All-new Shelby® GT350R-C embodies Ford innovation through performance as race car makes its competition debut this weekend at Watkins Glen
• Shelby GT350R-C to compete in the remainder of the 2015 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge with Multimatic Motorsports
• Competition version of Shelby GT350R features all-new 5.2-liter flat-plane crankshaft V8 created to extend on-track performance


DEARBORN, Mich., June 24, 2015 – There's no mistaking the wicked sound or aggressive looks of the all-new Shelby® GT350R-C that Ford announced today would see its first official track time at Watkins Glen this weekend.

Ford Shelby GT350R-C, the competition version of the reincarnated icon, will compete in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, a showdown of the most popular – and accessible – performance cars from around the world.

The GT350R production car was unveiled in January, and is one of more than 12 new vehicles Ford Performance will bring to market through 2020. Since its introduction, sports car enthusiasts have eagerly awaited the debut of a racing version.

"Like so many Mustangs before it, the Shelby GT350R is a car born to race," said Dave Pericak, director, Global Ford Performance. "We're taking it to the track as the GT350R-C and we're ready to see what it can do against the best competition in the world."

Both production and race car versions feature the first-ever production car V8 from Ford with a flat-plane crankshaft. This unique layout – typically reserved for the world's most exotic sports cars – helped create the most powerful naturally aspirated engine Ford has ever produced.

The race car features an adapted version of the advanced, fully independent suspension from GT350R – fitted with revised spring rates and antiroll bars, lower ride height, unique track-tuned alignment settings, revised bushings and cross-axis ball joints in the front.

Longtime Ford partner Multimatic Motorsports, which will manage the race team, returned to the blue oval in the series' Grand Sport division in 2014, piloting the Mustang Boss 302R with some of the most popular and talented drivers on its roster. The squad will field drivers Billy Johnson, Scott Maxwell, Austin Cindric and Jade Buford for the GT350R-C debut at Watkins Glen.

"Ford is committed to the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and we're very happy to be campaigning its product here," said Larry Holt, team principal, Multimatic Motorsports. "We like the endurance format, and the racing is always intense. Strategy plays a big role; the cars must be fast and reliable, and there are always at least 10 contenders running door-to-door for two and a half hours. It is the perfect home for the GT350R-C."

"American muscle cars have a storied history in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, and we eagerly anticipate the start of a new chapter with introduction of the Shelby GT350R-C," said Scott Atherton, president of IMSA. "Mustang has earned icon status through its racing heritage going back to the competition Mustangs of the 1960s, and this new race car will undoubtedly add to the legend."

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